Toronto’s diverse culinary scene has grown substantially over the years, with the city’s leading chefs garnering more international attention than ever — pandemic aside. In fact, after years of Canada not having any recognition or representation in the MICHELIN Guide, it was just announced this week that Toronto will be our nation’s first city to have its own guide. The questions that are already swirling are which restaurants in our city are deserving of MICHELIN stars, and how many will be awarded when the guide is formally announced this fall.
For those less familiar, the MICHELIN Guide star system is really the benchmark for chefs on the global scene. There are plenty of culinary connoisseurs who travel to particular destinations solely for the experience of dining at a MICHELIN three star establishment. According to the guide, an establishment considered to be a “very good restaurant in its category” will receive the honour of one star. Eateries with “excellent cooking” that is “worth a detour” will receive two, while only those restaurants that offer “exceptional cuisine” considered to be “worth a special journey” will receive the highly prestigious three stars — for which foodies from all over the world are known to travel.
“For the first time in its history, the MICHELIN Guide lands in Canada, and our inspectors are excited to experience the impressive culinary landscape of Toronto,” says Gwendal Poullennec, international director of the MICHELIN Guides, in a statement. “This first selection for Canada’s largest city, and our first in the country, will represent the local flavours, international inspiration, and distinct creativity that makes Toronto’s dining scene world-class.”
Michelin inspectors have already begun anonymously visiting restaurants in Toronto and are expected to continue doing so throughout the next few months. Inspectors, who take every precaution to avoid revealing their identity while dining, rate restaurants using Michelin’s historical methodology, which is based on five universal criteria: quality products; the mastery of flavours; the mastery of cooking techniques; the personality of the chef in the cuisine; and consistency between each visit. Restaurants are inspected several times a year before officially receiving a MICHELIN star.
Inspectors also bestow Bib Gourmand ratings on restaurants that offer great quality food at good prices, and they award the Michelin green star to restaurants involved in sustainable gastronomy.
“This is an exciting moment for our city as Toronto will become the first MICHELIN Guide destination in Canada,” says Toronto Mayor John Tory in a statement. “This further bolsters our reputation as a world destination for food and cuisine. Our diverse city, along with the many renowned chefs who call Toronto home, have helped us get to this point and to be able to showcase all of the wonderful restaurants.”
The new restaurant guide joins Michelin’s existing selection of the top hotels in Toronto.